What Do We Mean When We Say “Local”?

We define local using our watershed (the Sacramento Watershed)

For many years, our definition of “local” meant items grown or produced within 20 miles of our flagship location in Grass Valley, Calif. “Local” also included working with farmers who deliver directly to the store, regardless of distance. Now, with our second store more than 20 miles away from our Grass Valley store, we had to look at redefining local in a meaningful way.

Defining Local Using Our Watershed

Rather than rely upon a human-made definition of the term, such as mileage or county lines, we turned to nature for inspiration. As a California business, we are keenly aware of the value of water, having endured an increasing number of droughts and shortages in recent years. So, we based “local” on where the water flows that sustains its community, farmers and suppliers.
In his book “The State of Water,” author and artist Obi Kaufmann describes a watershed as “a geographic area defined by how a single system of liquid water moves above and below ground to supply essential habitat for either a single ecosystem or a network of connected ecosystems. … A watershed can include many different climate types and run through many different environments, yet is always connected by common drainage.”

Local = Watershed

Our definition of local Flows as we grow

A watershed is a complex system of interconnectedness: What happens upstream affects downstream. It is a metaphor for our cooperative community. It’s also a reminder that with our expansion comes responsibility as we become increasingly linked.

Our definition of “local” coincides with the Sacramento River Hydrologic Region. These boundaries aren’t man-made, but rather are determined by nature, and give the us room to grow. By basing our “local” area on a natural region allows increases opportunities for our shoppers and employees to think about the environment and their contributions, relationship and responsibility to it.

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